Tipping point, by definition, is the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place. Mass adoption of digital technology across all sectors of financial services has left behind those who rely on paper and manual data entry and analysis. Jobs are being shed in many sectors; think banking, finance, insurance where automation processes data.

Progressive, business-minded accounting and bookkeeping professionals who have been early adopters of technology have already transformed their business models away from time-sensitive, manual and spreadsheet-based processes and are building new revenue streams on the back of their productivity gains. That should be a massive wake-up call for those bookkeepers and accountants who earn the majority of their income from data entry which can largely be automated. We are passed a tipping point, by definition.

Simple solutions

The solution for bookkeepers is actually ridiculously simple: focus on deepening engagement with small business customers. Paper, is the first past the tipping point. The stack of tax receipts, invoices, and countless journals at tax deadline time should be relegated to history. Its child’s play: receive documents (receipts etc.) electronically sort, upload, and store everything online, including the sharing of documents with clients. Going paperless may mean scanning, uploading, and storing documents online; most will use Dropbox; some will use Receipt Bank to snap and digitally store a photo of receipts every time they buy something for their business.

If you have subcontractors, Google Docs is there to create and collaborate on documents with clients and others. It allows multiple users to simultaneously view, edit, comment on, and even chat together within documents, spreadsheets and forms.

Being digitally-ready means you don’t have to catch a bus, car or train to sign or have clients sign docs. Already that process seems like such a waste of time. Adobe’s EchoSign allows you to send clients a link to a secure page where they can digitally sign documents using a smart phone touch screen and a keystroke.

New revenue opportunities

Productivity gains should be at hand. Consider reporting as a case in point. The value of reports does not lie in compliance; it comes from the advice you provide from the financial reports. The basis for building a revenue stream here lies in being technology-abled to produce timely reports and grow advisory services.